Publication Ethics


TRJ follows the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) guidelines which state that, in order to qualify for authorship of a manuscript, the following criteria should be observed:

  • Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND
  • Drafting the work or reviewing it critically for important intellectual content; AND
  • Final approval of the version to be published; AND
  • Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

Those who contributed to the work but do not qualify for authorship should be listed in the acknowledgments. More detailed guidance on authorship is given by the International Council of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).

Any change to the author list should be approved by all authors including any who have been removed from the list. The corresponding author should act as a point of contact between the editor and the other authors and should keep co-authors informed and involve them in major decisions about the publication. We reserve the right to request confirmation that all authors meet the authorship conditions.

Reviewers Recommendation

Authors can recommend potential reviewers for their manuscripts. The journal editors will carefully examine these suggestions to ensure there are no conflicts of interest before contacting the reviewers. Reviewers will be asked to disclose any conflicts of interest they may have.

Furthermore, during the initial submission process, authors can specify the names of potential peer reviewers they wish to exclude from considering their manuscript for peer review. The editorial team will honor these requests if they do not compromise the objective and thorough evaluation of the submission.

When submitting their manuscript, authors should propose three potential reviewers who possess the relevant expertise to assess the content. Complete contact information, including address, homepage, phone, and email address, should be provided for each suggested reviewer. It's worth noting that while the editors may not directly approach these referees, they highly value the authors' recommendations.

To maintain fairness, the suggested reviewers should not currently collaborate with any of the co-authors, nor have published with them within the last three years. Additionally, it is preferable that the reviewers come from different institutions than the authors.

Research Involving Human Subjects

When reporting on research that involves human subjects, human material, human tissues, or human data, authors must declare that the investigations were carried out following the rules of the Declaration of Helsinki of 1975 (, revised in 2013. According to point 23 of this declaration, approval from the local institutional review board (IRB) or other appropriate ethics committee must be obtained before undertaking the research to confirm the study meets national and international guidelines. As a minimum, a statement including the project identification code, date of approval, and name of the ethics committee or institutional review board must be stated in Section ‘Institutional Review Board Statement’ of the article.

Example of an ethical statement: "All subjects gave their informed consent for inclusion before they participated in the study. The study was conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki, and the protocol was approved by the Ethics Committee of XXX (Project identification code)."

For non-interventional studies (e.g. surveys, questionnaires, social media research), all participants must be fully informed if anonymity is assured, why the research is being conducted, how their data will be used, and if there are any risks associated. As with all research involving humans, ethical approval from an appropriate ethics committee must be obtained prior to conducting the study. If ethical approval is not required, authors must either provide an exemption from the ethics committee or are encouraged to cite the local or national legislation that indicates ethics approval is not required for this type of study. Where a study has been granted an exemption, the name of the ethics committee which provided this should be stated in Section ‘Institutional Review Board Statement’ with a full explanation regarding why ethical approval was not required.

Written informed consent for publication must be obtained from participating patients. Data relating to individual participants must be described in detail, but private information identifying participants need not be included unless the identifiable materials are of relevance to the research (for example, photographs of participants' faces that show a particular symptom). The patient’s initials or other personal identifiers must not appear in any images. For manuscripts that include any case details, personal information, and/or images of patients, authors must obtain signed informed consent for publication from patients (or their relatives/guardians) before submitting to a TRJ journal. Patient details must be anonymized as far as possible, e.g., do not mention specific age, ethnicity, or occupation where they are not relevant to the conclusions. A template permission form is available to download. A blank version of the form used to obtain permission (without the patient's name or signature) must be uploaded with your submission. Editors reserve the right to reject any submission that does not meet these requirements.

You may refer to our sample form and provide an appropriate form after consulting with your affiliated institution. For the purposes of publishing in TRJ journal, a consent, permission, or release form should include unlimited permission for publication in all formats (including print, electronic, and online), in sublicensed and reprinted versions (including translations and derived works), and in other works and products under open access license. To respect patients’ and any other individual’s privacy, please do not send signed forms. The journal reserves the right to ask authors to provide signed forms if necessary.

If the study reports research involving vulnerable groups, an additional check may be performed. The submitted manuscript will be scrutinized by the editorial office and upon request, documentary evidence (blank consent forms and any related discussion documents from the ethics board) must be supplied. Additionally, when studies describe groups by race, ethnicity, gender, disability, disease, etc., explanations regarding why such categorization was needed must be clearly stated in the article.

Clinical Trials Registration


The TRJ policy adheres to the guidelines set forth by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). According to these guidelines, clinical trials must be registered in a public trials registry before or at the time of the first patient's enrollment for consideration of publication. However, purely observational studies do not require registration. It is essential to understand that the term "clinical trial" encompasses not only studies conducted in hospitals or involving pharmaceuticals but also any research involving participant randomization and group classification within the context of the intervention being evaluated.

Authors are strongly encouraged to pre-register their clinical trials with an international clinical trials registry and provide a reference to this registration in the Methods section of their submission. Suitable databases for registration include, the EU Clinical Trials Register, and those listed by the World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform.

It is important to note that obtaining approval from an independent local, regional, or national review body for conducting a study does not equate to prospective clinical trial registration. TRJ reserves the right to reject any paper lacking trial registration for further peer review.

However, an exception to the registration requirement applies if the study protocol has been previously published before participant enrollment, in which case the registration requirement can be waived, provided that the published protocol is appropriately cited. Researchers should develop a comprehensive trial protocol that clearly outlines the study's objectives, methodology, criteria for participant inclusion and exclusion, endpoints, statistical analysis plan, and other pertinent details. Subsequently, this trial protocol must undergo meticulous evaluation and approval by an ethical review board or institutional review board (IRB). The involvement of ethical review boards is vital in safeguarding the rights, safety, and welfare of the study participants. To foster transparency and allow others to assess the study's design and intentions, it is recommended to consider publishing the trial protocol in an academic journal or other publicly accessible platforms.

CONSORT Statement

When submitting your research to TRJ and reporting the results of a randomized trial, it is mandatory to include a fully completed CONSORT 2010 checklist and flow diagram. Templates for these documents can be obtained from the CONSORT website ( or accessed here. The CONSORT website provides additional information about checklist extensions customized for various study designs and data types, even beyond two-group parallel trials. To ensure your submission complies with the CONSORT guidelines, your article should, at a minimum, address each item on the checklist and provide a comprehensive report accordingly.

Sex and Gender in Research

We encourage our authors to follow the ‘Sex and Gender Equity in Research – SAGER – guidelines’ and to include sex and gender considerations where relevant. Authors should use the terms sex (biological attribute) and gender (shaped by social and cultural circumstances) carefully to avoid confusing both terms. Article titles and/or abstracts should indicate clearly what sex(es) the study applies to. Authors should also describe in the background, whether sex and/or gender differences may be expected; report how sex and/or gender were accounted for in the design of the study; provide disaggregated data by sex and/or gender, where appropriate; and discuss respective results. If a sex and/or gender analysis was not conducted, the rationale should be given in the Discussion. We suggest that our authors consult the full guidelines before submission.

Publication Ethics Statement

TRJ follows the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). We fully adhere to its Code of Conduct and to its Best Practice Guidelines.

The editors of this journal enforce a rigorous peer-review process together with strict ethical policies and standards to ensure to add of high-quality scientific works to the field of scholarly publication. Unfortunately, cases of plagiarism, data falsification, image manipulation, inappropriate authorship credit, and the like, do arise. The editors of TRJ take such publishing ethics issues very seriously and are trained to proceed in such cases with a zero-tolerance policy.

Authors wishing to publish their papers in TRJ must abide by the following:

  • Any facts that might be perceived as a possible conflict of interest of the author(s) must be disclosed in the paper prior to submission.
  • Authors should accurately present their research findings and include an objective discussion of the significance of their findings.
  • Data and methods used in the research need to be presented in sufficient detail in the paper so that other researchers can replicate the work.
  • Raw data should preferably be publicly deposited by the authors before the submission of their manuscript. Authors need to at least have the raw data readily available for presentation to the referees and the editors of the journal if requested. Authors need to ensure appropriate measures are taken so that raw data is retained in full for a reasonable time after publication.
  • Simultaneous submission of manuscripts to more than one journal is not tolerated.
  • If errors and inaccuracies are found by the authors after the publication of their paper, they need to be promptly communicated to the editors of this journal so that appropriate actions can be taken. 
  • Your manuscript should not contain any information that has already been published. If you include already published figures or images, please obtain the necessary permission from the copyright holder to publish under the CC-BY license. 
  • Plagiarism, data fabrication, and image manipulation are not tolerated. For detail see TRJ’s Plagiarism Policy.

Conflict Of Interest

A conflict of interest is anything that interferes with, or could reasonably be perceived as interfering with, the full and objective presentation, commissioning, peer review, editorial decision-making, or publication of research or non-research articles submitted to TRJ. A conflict of interest exists if a person or institution has a relationship, personal or otherwise, which has the potential to compromise or in any way interfere with professional objectivity or judgment in issues related to the relationship. A conflict of interest is actual if a relationship exists, or apparent if the possibility for a relationship could be inferred. In either case, it is the responsibility of journal Editors, Associate Editors, Editorial Board members, authors, and reviewers to declare Conflicts of Interest, actual or apparent, in order that appropriate mitigating action is taken. As conflict of interest is common, it reaches the level of concern when an observer may wonder if the individual’s behavior or judgment was motivated by his or her competing interest. Having competing interests does not imply wrongdoing, however, it could undermine the credibility and trustworthiness of the journal. TRJ, through this policy, aims to protect the integrity of the journal.

Editors: TRJ has in place procedures by which potential conflict-of-interest information is obtained from all Editors and Associate Editors on a regular basis; annually, or upon appointment or re-appointment. Such information includes the identification of editorial services with related or competing journals, institutional affiliations, paid consultancies, etc. Editors, in consultation with TRJ, manage their own conflicts of interest as well as those of their Associate Editors, staff, authors, reviewers, and Editorial Board members. They maintain a summary of relevant interests (financial, academic, and other kinds) of all editorial staff and members of editorial boards (which is updated at least annually). Article submissions from the Editors, Editorial Board members, or employees are managed so that no details of the review process, other than the anonymous reviews and decisions, are accessible to the Editor or employee.

Authors: The author has the obligation to reveal any personal interest or relationship that has the potential to be affected by the publication of the submitted manuscript. Sources of funding must be acknowledged in the manuscript. All authors must report any financial interest in corporate or commercial entities dealing with the subject matter of the manuscript. On behalf of all the authors, the corresponding author has the responsibility to advise the Editor of an actual or apparent conflict of interest at the time of submission of the manuscript. Such conflicts will be acknowledged in the Acknowledgement section of the published article. Authors must also submit corrections if conflicts of interest are revealed after publication.

Reviewers: A reviewer is entrusted to provide an unbiased assessment of the scientific merit of a manuscript under review. Any situation or relationship that could bias or be construed to bias this assessment must be reported to the Editor. These include personal relations to the authors, concurrent competitive research on the same subject in the manuscript, or professional or financial ties to an organization with interests in the subject under review. In such cases where an actual or apparent Conflict of Interest is disclosed, the use of a review provided or requested is at the discretion of the Editor.

Citation Policy

Authors should ensure that where the material is taken from other sources (including their own published writing) the source is clearly cited and that where appropriate permission is obtained.

Authors should not engage in excessive self-citation of their own work.

Authors should not copy references from other publications if they have not read the cited work.

Authors should not preferentially cite their own or their friends, peers’, or institution’s publications.

Authors should not cite advertisements or advertorial material.

In accordance with COPE guidelines, we expect that “original wording taken directly from publications by other researchers should appear in quotation marks with the appropriate citations.” This condition also applies to an author’s own work. COPE has produced a discussion document on citation manipulation with recommendations for best practice.

Scientific Misconduct

TRJ follows the guidelines provided by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), and the Higher Education Commission, Pakistan (HEC) for dealing with scientific misconduct.

The following examples and forms of misconduct have been taken from WAME, originally with minor modifications from the ORI publication Analysis of Institutional Policies for Responding to Allegations of Scientific Misconduct:

  • Falsification of data: ranges from fabrication to deceptive selective reporting of findings and omission of conflicting data, or willful suppression and/or distortion of data.
  • Plagiarism: The appropriation of the language, ideas, or thoughts of another without crediting their true source, and representation of them as one's own original work.
  • Improprieties of authorship: Improper assignment of credit, such as excluding others, misrepresentation of the same material as original in more than one publication, the inclusion of individuals as authors who have not made a definite contribution to the work published; or submission of multi-authored publications without the concurrence of all authors.
  • Misappropriation of the ideas of others: an important aspect of scholarly activity is the exchange of ideas among colleagues. Scholars can acquire novel ideas from others during the process of reviewing grant applications and manuscripts. However, improper use of such information can constitute fraud. Wholesale appropriation of such material constitutes misconduct.
  • Violation of generally accepted research practices: Serious deviation from accepted practices in proposing or carrying out research, improper manipulation of experiments to obtain biased results, deceptive statistical or analytical manipulations, or improper reporting of results.
  • Material failure to comply with legislative and regulatory requirements affecting research: Including but not limited to serious or substantial, repeated, willful violations of applicable local regulations and law involving the use of funds, care of human subjects, investigational therapies/drugs, recombinant products, new devices, or radioactive, biologic, or chemical materials.
  • Inappropriate behavior in relation to misconduct: this includes unfounded or knowingly false accusations of misconduct, failure to report known or suspected misconduct, withholding or destruction of information relevant to a claim of misconduct, and retaliation against persons involved in the allegation or investigation.
  • TRJ also includes redundant publication and duplicate publication, lack of declaration of competing interests and of funding/sponsorship, and other failures of transparency to be forms of misconduct.

Handling of Ethical Misconduct

Identification and investigation: It is possible for anyone to report misconduct and unethical behavior to the editor and publisher at any given time. The person who provides the information must also provide adequate evidence or documentation to initiate an investigation. The responsibility of conducting investigations into misconduct lies primarily with journal editors, who should seek advice from the publisher if necessary. To avoid spreading rumors or allegations, investigations should be carried out discreetly and only among those who require the information.

Research misconduct and potential consequences: The editor, in collaboration with the publisher and society, is responsible for making the final decision on how to handle any identified misconduct. This may involve notifying the employer of the accused of the breach. The following outcomes are listed in order of increasing severity:

  • Educating the author or reviewer if there is a misunderstanding or misapplication of standards.
  • Issuing a strongly worded written warning to the author or reviewer to deter future behavior.
  • Publishing a formal notice or editorial that outlines the misconduct.
  • Sending a formal letter to the head of the author's or reviewer's department or funding agency.
  • Formally retracting a publication from the journal, while informing relevant department heads, indexing services, and readers of the publication.
  • Imposing a formal embargo on contributions from an individual for a defined period.
  • Reporting the case and outcome to a professional organization or higher authority for further investigation and action.

Language Correction

To facilitate proper peer-reviewing of your manuscript, it is essential that it is submitted in grammatically correct English. TRJ provides minor English editing by native English speakers for all accepted papers, included in the APC. The APC does not cover extensive English editing. Your paper could be returned to you at the English editing stage of the publication process if extensive editing is required. You may choose to use a paid language-editing service, such as TRJ’s Author Services, before submitting your paper for publication. If you use an alternative service that provides a confirmation certificate, please send a copy to the Editorial Office.

Conference Papers

TRJ welcomes submissions of high-quality conference papers that meet the following criteria:

  • The paper must be expanded to the size of a research article.
  • The original conference paper should be cited and acknowledged on the first page of the submission.
  • If the authors do not own the copyright of the published conference paper, they should obtain the necessary permission from the copyright holder.
  • Authors must indicate in their cover letter that the submission is based on a conference paper and provide a statement detailing the changes made compared to the original version.

For unpublished conference papers that do not meet these conditions, the authors are encouraged to submit them as regular research articles instead.


TRJ is also willing to accept supplement publishing requests made by external organizations based on different topics, abstracts, or meetings. The cost of publishing the supplement will be paid by the requesting body after discussion with the journal management.

It is vital to note that all the articles published represent the opinions of the authors and do not reflect the official policy of the journal. For more details regarding supplements, please get in touch with the Journal at

Editorial Independence

Lack of Interference with Editorial Decisions

Editorial independence is of utmost importance and TRJ does not interfere with editorial decisions. All articles published by TRJ are peer reviewed and assessed by our independent editorial boards, and TRJ staff are not involved in decisions to accept manuscripts. When making an editorial decision, we expect the academic editor to make their decision based only upon:

  • The suitability of selected reviewers.
  • Adequacy of reviewer comments and author response.
  • Overall scientific quality of the paper.

In TRJ policies are informed by the mission to make science and research findings open and accessible as widely and rapidly as possible.

Editors and Editorial Staff as Authors

As per TRJ's policy, the editorial staff, editors, and advisory members are prohibited from submitting manuscripts to the journal as authors. 


The decision to publish a paper in TRJ is based on an editorial assessment and peer review. Initially, all papers are assessed by an editorial committee consisting of two or more members of the editorial team. The prime purpose is to decide whether to send a paper for peer review and to give a rapid decision on those that are not.

Once a manuscript passes the initial checks, it will be assigned to at least two independent experts for peer review. 

Manuscripts going forward to the review process undergo a double-blind peer review by two or more reviewers, under the supervision of the Chief Editor and the Managing Editor. We aim to complete the review process within 4-8 weeks of the decision to review although occasionally delays do happen, and authors should allow at least 6 weeks from submissions before contacting the journal. The Editor-in-Chief reserves the right to the final decision regarding acceptance. You may find the journal’s article reviewing procedure, here.

Article Reproduction

Reproducing material from other sources: It is the author's responsibility to secure all permissions prior to submission of the manuscript. Any part of the article accessed from another source should be accompanied by a signed letter of consent from the copyright holder, which may be the author, journal, or publisher.

Reproducing material published by TRJ: No part of the Journal may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any other means, electronic, mechanical photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior permission, in writing, of The Rehabilitation Journal. This includes material previously published by the requesting author.

Responses to published work: Comments on previously published articles in TRJ will be reviewed by the editor-in-chief and forwarded to the authors of the published manuscript for a reply. Appropriate time will be given for the response. Both will be published simultaneously in one of the forthcoming issues. In case the author of the published article does not reply, the comments will be published on their own. This process will only be undertaken if the comments are appropriate.